KEFALONITIKI PITA ME KOLOKYTHA KAI KAROTA
Makes 6 to 8 servings
One finds recipes in the most unusual places, in this case from Spiros Bazigos, the accountant at the Coridalenio Library in Argostoli, Cephalonia’s capital. I had just spent a day looking for books on old island customs and food habits. He had come in to say good night to the rest of the staff, and all fingers pointed in his direction. “He’s the one you should be talking to, a walking encyclopedia, and his belly’s the proof,” the librarian said. Sure enough, he knew much about the island’s traditional recipes, and I have him to thank for the following three pita dishes.
1 recipe Basic Homemade Phyllo Dough, commercial phyllo, or Afrato phyllo, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium-large yellow onions, finely chopped
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 4 cups shredded pumpkin
- 1/2 cup long-grain rice
- 1 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped plum
- tomatoes (canned are fine)
- 1 cup packed snipped fresh dill
- 2 large eggs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Olive oil for brushing
1. Make the filling: Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onions over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until wilted, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the carrots and continue cooking until the carrots are very soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Heat another 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the same skillet and add the pumpkin. Cook, stirring, until it is soft and most of its liquid has evaporated, 12 to 20 minutes, depending on the pumpkin. Place in the bowl with the carrots and onions. Let the mixture cool slightly.
3. Add the rice, tomatoes, dill, and eggs to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
4. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Oil a 15-inchround baking pan that is 2 inches deep. Divide the phyllo into 4 balls. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the first ball into a circle slightly larger than the diameter of the pan. Place it in the pan and brush it generously with olive oil. Do the same with the next ball. Spread the filling evenly over the phyllo and roll out and layer the remaining 2 balls of phyllo the same way, brushing each generously with olive oil. Join the top and bottom rims by pinching them together and roll around the pan to form a thick perimeter. Score the pie into diamond-shaped wedges or into squares without cutting through to the bottom of the pan and bake until golden, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool for at least 30 minutes, and serve, either warm or at room temperature.
- You may reduce the ingredients by half and bake the pie in an 8-inch or 10-inch round pan.
- The pie may also be made with commercial phyllo. For every sheet of homemade phyllo use 3 to 4 sheets of commercial phyllo.